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Snowmass history: Deaf Camp of 1980

The crowd and stage of the Deaf Camp Picnic from June 15, 1980 at the Snowmass Creek campground. Crowds are seated at Snowmass ski area with Divide Road or Zeigler Divide Way in the background.
Ruth Harrison/Aspen Historical Society |

The 12th annual picnic to benefit the Aspen Camp School for the Deaf, held June 15, 1980, offered some of the best regional talent mixed with some superstar names. As usual, John Denver, “principal godfather of the picnic,” made a special guest appearance among performers that included the Bobby Mason Band, Jimmy Ibbotson and the Sons of Thunder, Twirp Anderson and the Country Cannonball, the Aspen Flyers, Easy Pickins, Crossroads, Westwind, and Wayne Stewart and Friends. As always, onstage were the interpreters for the deaf children in the audience, a highlight of their camp curriculum. The picnic was an all-day event including a BBQ lunch from noon to 7 p.m. at the Snowmass Creek campground area, raising about two-thirds of the money needed for their annual operating budget and scholarship fund for the school, which was founded in 1966. Around 5,000 people showed up for the event that year.


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